Baffled banking chiefs are scratching their heads today, trying to decipher the unintelligible messages they have been receiving from Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.
"I've checked my dictionary twice," said Sir Robert Blind, chairman of the Piggy Bank of Scotland. "There's no mention of anything remotely like 'moral', 'responsibility', 'duty', or 'shame'. I've asked our overseas branches if these noises mean anything in their languages, but they've drawn a blank too. Perhaps they're speaking in tongues?"
"I did recognise the word 'bonus' a couple of times," said James Hamer-Head, Director of Self-Enrichment at merchant bankers Fubarcorp. "That's Latin for 'good' - I remember that much from the good old Shortbread Eating Primer, ha ha, oh dear - so presumably they approve of everything we're doing and want us to carry on as normal."
"I must say, though, the other stuff seems to be complete gibberish," he added. "But I suppose they're under a bit of a strain, what with the state of the economy and everything. It must be an awful burden for them. I don't know how they can sleep at night."
Sir Robert, Mr Hamer-Head and other leading financiers agreed to hold further discussions about the incomprehensible utterances of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer over an agreeable champagne luncheon at Le Gavroche.